After talking to owner Roy Chapman Monday morning, trainer John Servis has mapped out a tentative plan for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness (gr. I) winner Smarty Jones that includes the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I), Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II), Pegasus Handicap, and finally the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Servis said Smarty Jones' status for the Aug. 8 Haskell at Monmouth Park depends on how quickly the colt bounces back from his grueling Triple Crown campaign that began in January.
"Right now, those are the four races we're looking at," Servis said. "I really want to keep him with 3-year-olds until the Classic. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority told us they'd change the date of the Pegasus to suit our schedule."
Meadowlands has proven to be an excellent track at which to prep for the Classic, with several horses coming off the Meadowlands Cup (gr. II) to run big races in America's richest race, including Volponi and Dynever in the past two years.
"He's doing super," Servis said. "He's just been walking under tack and is scheduled to go back to the track on Friday, which would give him 20 days of walking. If he shows us he's ready to get back, then we'll point for the Haskell. If we see that he needs more time, then we'll just go in the Pennsylvania Derby, Pegasus, and Breeders' Cup Classic (to be held at Lone Star Park in Texas)."
Servis said Smarty Jones' popularity has not diminished at all following his defeat in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I), his first career loss. "We've been getting bags of mail," said Servis, who returned late last week from a short vacation in the Poconos with his wife Sherry. "It's incredible how much mail we've gotten."
Smarty Jones has won eight of his nine career starts, with earnings of $7,613,155.